South Sudan Says Not at War With Sudan

An April 14, 2012 photo shows Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) troops at their position in the Unity Oil Field near the front lines at Heglig.
An April 14, 2012 photo shows Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) troops at their position in the Unity Oil Field near the front lines at Heglig.
Hannah McNeish

South Sudan said Sudan has launched four new attacks in the last 24 hours on the as yet undefined border that the sides have been fighting over for weeks. The accusation follows threats from Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to destroy the South Sudanese government.

South Sudan’s occupation of a contested area of Heglig that Sudan uses to produces half its oil has sparked fears that what started as border clashes could lead to all-out war with Khartoum.

South Sudan government spokesman Barnaba Marial Benjamin said Heglig is within a 1956 border left by former colonial power Britain. He said the south is now fending off attacks in three of its 10 states.

“The government of the Republic of Sudan is on continuous attack both bombardment and ground forces invasion into the territory of South Sudan, but the Republic of South Sudan has been able in self-defense to actually to repulse these wanton attacks within the borders of South Sudan," said Benjamin. "We would like to say again, up to now, we have not crossed, even an inch, into the borders of the Republic of Sudan.”

View Larger Map

Sudan's parliament voted this week to make South Sudan an enemy of the state, and on Wednesday President Omar al-Bashir vowed to to crush the southern government, which he described as an “insect,” and to “liberate” the south's people.

But despite the increasing war rhetoric and intense fighting on the border, Benjamin insisted that South Sudan was not at war with Sudan.

“That pronouncement by parliament in Khartoum is a declaration of war. The Republic of South Sudan is not in the state of war, nor is it interested in the war with Sudan, which we believe is a senseless war,” he said.

However, Benjamin said that southern troops would not pull out of Heglig unless both armies cease hostilities, agree to demarcate the border and pull out troops from the Abyei - another contested area on the border, which was occupied by Sudan Armed Forces, SAF last May.

South Sudan’s army - the SPLA - occupied Heglig, which the South calls Panthou, after pushing forces back for the second time. The south said the area was being used to launch attacks on South Sudan.

“The SPLA forces are in Panthou, which is Heglig, to put to an end repeated attacks by Sudan Armed Forces - SAF - into the positions of the SPLA," Benjamin said. "The presence of SAF in Panthou, has been a security threat to SPLA positions in the area.”

South Sudan also said it is ready to restart negotiations with Sudan, that aimed to address outstanding issues over territory, borders, and the sharing of oil revenues following southern secession last July.

But while war rhetoric mounts, it remains to be seen what can draw these two former civil war foes back from the brink of a renewed bitter conflict.

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs